Thursday, September 19, 2019

How rich do you want to be?

"Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction." (1 Timothy 6: 9).

Friday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr and the Korean martyrs. 103 martyrs gave their lives to Christ between 1839 and 1867.

Our Scripture for today is wringing indictment of love of money.  When I was in college, it was vogue and smart to want to be rich. Still the same today. "Make all the money you can and then retire early." Even without knowing what I needed all the money for, I fell for the madness. Also in fashion at the time were self-help books like: THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON and THINK AND GROW RICH.
I am glad to say that God in His mercy rescued me from such evil thoughts.

Sacred Scripture has a lot to say about money both as filthy lucre and genuine riches. Let us take a few sampling from the first Reading from 1Timothy 6:

"For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it."

"If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that."

"For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains."

These are plain truths for anyone to see.

The Korean Martyrs we celebrate today attained to everlasting life because they rejected the culture of money, money, money.

How happy are the poor in spirit: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

God loves sinners who confess their sins.

"Her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”  (Luke 7: 47).

Thursday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time. How often do you go to Confession? The more often, the closer you are to God. The closer you are to God, the more effective your life, your ministry, work.

Those who love much because their many sins have been forgiven them:
#1 Peter the Chief Apostle.
#2 Paul the Greatest Apostle.
#3 Mary Magdalene the Apostle to the Apostles.

God loves sinners who confess their sins. Do you need one more example:
#4 David, the Greatest King of Israel.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the pathway to deep peace, joy and holiness. Go for it. It is free!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Church is the Pillar and Foundation of truth.

"The church of the living God, [is] the pillar and foundation of truth." (1 Timothy 3: 15).

Wednesday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time. Our Scripture for today makes a huge claim for the body we call the Church: It is the Pillar and Foundation of truth. The Church in fact claims authority to teach the truth. Only one Church claims this authority. Below is how the Church stakes its claim:

"The Church, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth," "has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth." "To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls." (CCC 2032).

Why would God give such sweeping authority to the Church made up of sinful men like the Apostle Peter or Pope Francis? To understand the mind of Christ, let us see the authority that God gave to sin-prone human beings at the first creation:

"God blessed them [humans] and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth." (Genesis 1: 28).

In the first creation, God gave humans dominion over the earth. Men went ahead and built the Tower of Babel, went to the moon and experimented with eugenics. Today, man's stewardship of the earth is highly compromised.

The Church is the Baby of the second creation. Here is the charge from Jesus:
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18 - 20).
The Church therefore has the authority to teach all nations what Jesus Christ taught the Apostles.

Could the Church have lasted for decades without this authority?
"Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed." (1 Timothy 3: 14).
"How great are the works of the Lord." (Responsorial Psalm 111 Refrain).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 16, 2019

A Bishop must be irreproachable, not a lover of money.

"[A] Bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,  not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity." (1 Timothy 3: 2 - 4).

Tuesday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Robert Berllamine of the Society of Jesus. Our Scripture for today listed the qualities of a Bishop of the Church. It seems as if the author of 1 Timothy studied the life of St Robert Berllamine before writing the profile of the Bishop. The only difference is that Berllamine was celibate. As a Bishop and a Cardinal, he had a large household and treated members of his household with exemplary kindness and generosity. Born in 1542 in Tuscany, he lived during the tumultuous years of the Reformation. A highly respected scholar, he was also a very effective apologist. Because of his gentle and winsome character, he was listened to on both sides of the Reformation controversies.
St Robert Berllamine wrote a very successful Catechism.

St Robert Berllamine was irreproachable, celibate, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,  not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money.
May God bless and prosper His Church with Bishops like St Robert Berllamine.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Lord, say but a word.

“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed." (Luke 7: 6 - 7).

Monday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cornelius, Pope and St Cyprian, Bishop. Both were martyred in the 4th century.

In our Gospel pick for today, we marvel at the faith of the Roman Centurion. It is said that our faith grows when we read Sacred Scripture. The Centurion heard of the miraculous powers of Jesus and understood from his army experience that Jesus could heal his slave by a word of command given from anywhere.

Blessed John Henry Newman writes that when God asks us to trust Him, He does not demand the impossible. He gives us signs and at other times inner certitude to strengthen our faith. Think of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Abraham, David, Paul, etc. Our trust in God brings delight to the Heart of God. "When Jesus heard these words [of the Centurion] he was astonished at him and, turning round, said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this.’ And when the messengers got back to the house they found the servant in perfect health." (Luke 7: 9 - 10).

Inspired by the professed faith of the Centurion, the Church says before Holy Communion:
"Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." Just one word!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Sin>>>>Suffering >>>>>Salvation.

"Coming to his senses he [the Prodigal] thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger." (Luke 15: 17).

Sunday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time. The Scriptures this Sunday is so rich in spiritual nourishment. The first Reading from Exodus 32 can be summarized thus: The Lord relented in the punishment He planned for His people. In the 2nd Reading from 1 Timothy, Paul exclaimed how mercifully Jesus treated him. First, all his sins were wiped out. Then Jesus appointed Paul as a top apostle. But it is in the Gospel that we see God’s face of mercy in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Sin>>>Suffering >>>Salvation.
Sin leads sooner or later to brokenness. Brokenness softens the heart to receive the mercy waiting for the sinner. Without the hunger and misery of the Prodigal, he would never have come to the point where he said:
"I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers." (Luke 15: 18 - 19).

The Scriptures reveal to us this Sunday: Jesus Christ the Face of mercy of God the Father. How do we apply this truth to our needs?
Reconciliation! No Reconciliation, No personal experience of Mercy!
The ABC of Mercy:
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

"We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered." (Cf Galatians 6: 14).

Saturday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, also called the Triumph of the Cross. This ancient feast dates back to the 4th century.

How do you see the Cross? An instrument of torture and Roman execution of criminals? Or an altar of sacrifice of the Son of God for the Salvation of the world?

Jesus Christ embraced the Cross the Father decreed for Him and thus triumphed over sin, evil and death. Jesus reigned as King of the Universe from the holy Cross. A concept difficult to understand. Take it as truth from the Church.
How about you my brother and sister? Are you tempted to reject your Cross? To reject your Cross is to reject Jesus Christ and the Father's ordained means of salvation. Or are you tempted to think that your Cross is too heavy? Then think of this:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

When you embrace God’s gracious and mysterious will for you in everything, everywhere and always, you will know the peace of Jesus.

"We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; because by your cross you have redeemed the world." (Gospel Acclamation).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 12, 2019

St John Chrysostom of Constantinople, great teacher and preacher.

"No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher." (Luke 6: 40).

Friday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (349 - 407). As the Archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysistom could have chosen a quiet, comfortable and non controversial life. Not Chrysostom, a great admirer of St Paul the Apostle, he worked very hard for the cause of the poor and the marginalized in his See. "When fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher." (Luke 6: 40).
John Chrysostom was fully trained and became a great preacher and teacher in addition to his other ministries. We continue to enjoy today the vast writings he left behind.

Bishop John Chrysostom is known for his experience of great suffering in the course of the his ministry and left us an example of invincible patience. He died in exile.
St John Chrysostom, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Love your enemies.

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6: 27 - 28).

Thursday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To those who love Mary, no honor is enough. To those who do not love her, they begrudge her even the Blessedness that Scripture says is her entitlement for being full of grace and the Mother of the Redeemer.

Jesus proclaims: "I am the Way." That Way is the Way of the Cross. Could there be possibly any other way? If there is, the Holy Spirit would have revealed it to the Church. When you love those who hate and injure you, you behave exactly like Jesus. When you bless those who curse you, you bear your cross like Jesus, St Stephen the martyr and the saints.

When the tiny Christian community encountered the imperial power of Rome, they offered no resistance to the inhuman brutalization of imperial power. The Christians remembered  the ancient creed of the Church:

"Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God." (CCC 272).

In other words as Jesus teaches in our Gospel of today (Luke 6: 27 - 38), evil can only be overcome through the Cross. Wherever this doctrine is applied, the Cross has always been exalted.
"Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you." (Colossians 3: 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours......But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation." (Luke 6: 20,.. 24).

Wednesday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time. In Luke's Beatitudes (Sermon on the Plain), Jesus promises the kingdom of God to those who are poor, not necessarily those deprived of material goods and comforts but those whose treasure is in heaven. These are the holy ones who have heard the message of the kingdom of God, of eternal life that is ushered in by the ministry of Jesus Christ and seeks it as first priority. These Christians start right here and right now to enjoy the eternal life that is the kingdom of God.

But those whose hearts are in their wealth receive their compensation here on earth for 50, 70, 90 or at most 100 years. And here on earth, they must defend their wealth from taxes, robbers, rust, inflation, etc. They will be weary defending their excess riches. Jesus promises a better way in the Beatitudes:

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are you who are poor [in spirit, those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for the kingdom of God is yours [both now and forever]. (Luke 6: 20 AMP).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 09, 2019

After a night spent in prayer, Jesus chose the 12.

"Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles." (Luke 6: 12 - 13).

Tuesday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time. It is time for Jesus to choose and call His close friends.

After a night spent in prayer, Jesus undertakes one of the most important tasks in His mission: Choosing His 12 Apostles. No nation takes lightly the choice of its leaders. Elections are organized and campaigns undertaken for a couple of years.

We see a variety of gifts and personalities in the 12 men chosen to be close collaborators of Jesus. All the men were from lower class of society, poor, uneducated, untraveled and timid. Jesus Himself would be their Teacher and Master while He remained with them. Then the Holy Spirit will finish the job of preparing them for their lives' work.

Do you find it fun criticizing your Bishop? Do you realize that they are the direct successors of the Apostles? They need your prayers and not your acidic criticisms. Have you removed the beam in your eyes so that you can see clearly before you try to remove the beam in your Bishop's eyes? Be careful because as you judge so shall you be judged. (Cf Matthew 7: 2).

"You are just, O Lord, and your judgement is right; treat your servant in accord with your merciful love." (Psalm 118: 137, 124).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Can we really fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ?

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church." (Colossians 1: 24).

Monday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Claver of the Society of Jesus (1580 - 1654), Priest and Religious. As a Jesuit missionary in South America, he was placed by Providence to care for thousands of African slaves as they arrived in the Americas to start their enforced slavery. Peter fed the hungry, cared for the sick and dying. It is estimated that he baptized about 300,000 in his 40 years of ministry.

Our Scripture of today is puzzling. Jesus Christ overcame evil not by fight or flight but my total submission. The Church goes on to teach:
"But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe". (CCC 272).

We share in the Exaltation of the Cross today by embracing God's gracious and mysterious will in our life. You may think that this is easy. If you commit to doing it always, everywhere and in everything, you are on your way to sainthood. When you learn to offer up all your sufferings in union with Jesus, it is powerful and can be the one single thing that breaks any yoke.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Before embarking on a new project, count the cost.

"This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish." (Luke 14: 30).

Sunday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time. When you embark on a new project: building a home, a new career, volunteering for a new ministry, etc. Rule #1 is sit down and count the cost. This will save you embarrassment and mockery from friends, family and neighbors. The stakes are higher when you make a vow to God. You can not walk away from it.

The message of the 23rd Sunday can be expressed thus: God approves of those who seek first His Kingdom and give it their All. Jesus our Captain invites us to take His yoke upon ourselves and learn from Him.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14: 6). Don't deceive yourself by looking for an easy way. The only way is the Cross. If we are the first to go through this way, you may be excused if you consider it an impossibility. But we have a cloud of witnesses that have gone this way before us.

This morning, I was humbled to sit in the exact spot Mother St Teresa of Kolkata sat when she visited the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Atlanta, Georgia in 1995. Some other people have been in the very spots Pope St John Paul II was in his various visits to the US. Some of the clouds of witnesses might be sitting beside you in your parish this Sunday.

If Jesus is the light of the world, then follow Him. "I am the light of the world; who ever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8: 12).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 06, 2019

Why are doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?

“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” (Luke 6: 2).

Saturday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. What are you doing on the Sabbath? We should be doing Praise and Worship. The Lord of the Sabbath teaches that there could be discrete exception to this rule.

"Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy." (Exodus 20: 8). The command to set apart the Sabbath is very important as seen from the way it is treated in Sacred Scriptures. It is the exaggerated concern for the obligation and sanctity of the Sabbath Rest that gave rise to hundreds of minutiae rules concerning the basic command to keep holy the Lord's Day. Throughout the Christian history, the Magisterium of the Church has not only expounded on the sacred character of the Sabbath but has taught that the Sabbath was instituted for the enjoyment of the People of God. It is a day of worship of God. A day of rest for the whole family from the hustle and bustle involved in making a living. It is a day to enjoy the parks, watch Christian movies. It is a day to visit the sick in the hospital.

The Sabbath Rest is Rehearsal for Eternal life. One day, there will be no work. By obeying the law of the Sabbath, you build up your faith in this promise of God. God plans to redeem man and creation from the present servitude.

It is more enjoyable to keep holy the Lord's Day than to do anything unlawful on the Sabbath Rest.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Jesus is the Icon of the invisible God.

"He [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God." (Colossians 1: 15).

Friday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time is First Friday in September. We honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The first Reading from Colossians 1 is a beautiful celebration in words of the Preeminence of Jesus Christ both in His Sacred Person and His work.

Jesus is the image [icon] of our God who is invisible. He is the pleroma (fullness) of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Consider the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit for a moment: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord. Let us complete the picture of Deity by bringing in the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-control and Chastity. Both the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit form the complete picture of Jesus Christ.

Example:
"O Lord, you are good and forgiving, [Just as Jesus is good and forgiving] full of mercy to all who call to you." [Just as Jesus is full of mercy to all who call to Him.] (Psalm 85: 5).

John wrote that in the fullness of time, we shall all be like Jesus. We shall be God as St Basil the Great wrote. "Through the Spirit we acquire a likeness to God; indeed, we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirations – we become God." At the moment, we are being christified degree by degree through the molding of our character by the Holy Spirit.

Brothers and sisters, do you know of any obstacles to this process of christification in your life today? Reject it. It is not worth it.

Daily Bible Verse @
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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

September 6, 2019 - First Friday in September.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Jesus made through St Margaret Mary Alacoque to all who honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month. In the 9th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #9.

#9.  "I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored."

This is a very easy condition to fulfill. Buy the Sacred Heart of Jesus picture from a Catholic Bookstore or Amazon and place it in a prominent place in your home. Now you can pray to Jesus: Bless my home as You promised. I honor Your Sacred Heart image displayed in my home.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

Seekfirstcommunity.com

To read the Blog proper to today, Friday - 09/06/2019, visit:
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Wednesday, September 04, 2019

I will do whatever You command me.

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” (Luke 5: 4 - 5).

Thursday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. How would you react if someone who apparently knows nothing about cars walked into your garage and tells you how to fix a complex problem your mechanics have been grappling with for many hours? Peter told Jesus that as experienced fishermen, they had done everything possible and caught no fish. And then he added something absolutely inspired: "But at your command I will lower the nets.” O that I may have such common sense and inspiration if I am in such a situation!

This Gospel incident reminds us of the Wedding feast at Cana. Mary told the stewards: “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2: 5).

Obedience to God even when the command makes absolutely no sense yields a miracle. This is the pattern throughout Sacred Scripture. May the Lord grant us the obedience of faith.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

I have been sent to proclaim the kingdom of God.

“To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4: 43).

Wednesday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. Jesus made a solemn declaration of the Purpose for His Incarnation in our chosen Scripture for today: To preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

Let us unpack the message in Luke 4: 43. First Jesus stated that the Good News must be preached everywhere and not just in some towns with the exclusion of others. God's will is the salvation of the whole world.

What is the core of the Good News? The core of the Good News is the substance of the preaching of Peter and the other Apostles after the experience of Pentecost. This is also called the Apostolic Kerygma. It is Kerygma (Proclamation) and not arguments or futile debates. It is the word of God, the word of life without error. Accept it or not accept it.

The central element of the Good News and the Proclamation is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the Reign of God in the world. It has its seed in the Church. It is here and now. Its fullness will come in the future (Parousia) when there will be the new heaven and the new earth. The kingdom was inaugurated by Jesus Christ on the cross where the Son of Man inflicted a humiliating defeat on Satan and opened for us the gate of life everlasting. Anyone who believes in the truth that Christ died, rose from the dead and in His name salvation comes to all is enjoying eternal life here and now. Jesus Christ already reigns in the person. The person lives and knows that King Jesus is in control of his health, family, finances, job, possessions, etc.

If Jesus is your King, then you must join Him to bring these glad tidings everywhere.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 02, 2019

Jesus taught with authority. Feast of St Gregory the Great.

"Jesus then went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority." (Luke 4: 31 - 32).

Tuesday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Gregory the Great (540 - 604), Pope and Doctor of the Church. St Gregory was a prominent prefect (mayor) of Rome who used his wealth to found six monasteries before he was elected Pope. He is noted in history for instituting liturgical reforms and initiating missionary endeavors. It was due to St Gregory that missionaries were first sent to England.

We know that the most popular title of Jesus among the people is Rabbi (the Teacher). In today's Gospel Reading, we find out why. Jesus taught the people with authority. (verse 32). This contrasts with the teachings of the Pharisees and the lawyers who were fond of long quotations of references to support whatever they say. It also contrasts with the teachings of modern professors and authors who teach like the Pharisees and lawyers of the time of Jesus: long quotations and references. Jesus taught with simplicity and authority.

Lord Jesus, You gave Your Church the mission to teach all nations what You taught the Apostles, give our teachers the gift of the Holy Spirit so that they can teach the Faith with simplicity and authority.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 01, 2019

This Scripture is fulfilled Today.

"He [Jesus]... went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day....... He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4: 16 to 19).

Monday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. In our Scripture for today, Jesus did in the synagogue in His home town Nazareth what He had never done before. He stated clearly for everyone to hear that He is the Man, the Messiah chosen to fulfill the long held promises and desires of the people.

“Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 21). What does this bold proclamation remind us?

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29 - 32).
Simeon the Prophet, a devout man filled with the Holy Spirit testified that "Today" God fulfilled His promise to Israel when he held the Child Jesus in the Temple.

Does the Spirit of God in you ever tug your heart to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free?
Consider these ministries:
#1 Social Justice
#2 Prison Ministry
#3 Cathechesis
#4 Evangelization

Lord Jesus, lead us, guide us and use us.

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Saturday, August 31, 2019

It is not from chance springs every comfort or good gift you enjoy.

"God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nurture in us what is good and, by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nurtured.... ." (Collect, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time).

Sunday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. We take our reflection today from the Collect (Opening Prayer) in today's Liturgy. An ancient and constant teaching of the Church states that "Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi." The law of prayer is the law of faith. Also as you pray, so you live. (Lex vivendi).

What difference does it make to you to know that every good thing comes from God? The two concepts that transformed how I relate to God are:

#1 Every good thing comes from God. (James 1: 17).
#2 It is not from chance comes any of our comfort but from God's gracious ordaining. (Cf 2 Corinthians 1: 3).

How have these related concepts transformed my relationship with God? I made a timeline of my life from the earliest years, decade by decade noting all the landmarks I can remember. Today I reviewed one of the decades and was stunned to see a pattern in God's interventions in my life. I exclaimed quietly to myself: "I know these are not accidents."

God’s powerful and loving Providence is one of the sweetest revelations in Sacred Scripture. Make a timeline of your your life and see for yourself how God's Providence works for you.

"You poured down, O God, a generous rain: when your people were starved you gave them new life." (Psalm 68: 10, Responsorial Psalm).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, August 30, 2019

How did you use your time, talent and treasure?

 “It [the Kingdom of God] will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.  To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away." (Matthew 25: 14 - 15).

Saturday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time. We have another Parable that likens the Kingdom of God as a man who before he set out on a long journey called his trusted stewards and entrusted to them seed money.

The narrative continues: "After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them." (Matthew 25: 19). Some people have problem with Christianity because they reason that if Jesus Christ has not returned in the past 2000 years, He would probably not return. In this Parable of the Kingdom, the Lord Jesus says that the return of the King is after "a long time." God will determine the end of the ages. The Bible warns us: "But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day." (2 Peter 3: 8).

God gives all His children time, talent and treasure. His command is that these gifts be wisely used in the building up of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

"Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21: 36).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Why did the foolish virgins not bring extra oil?

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise." (Matthew 13: 1-2).

Friday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time. The Gospel of today is the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Whenever we hear Jesus say: "The kingdom of heaven will be like...", we need to pay great attention to hear what follows because Jesus has magnificent obsession for the Kingdom of God and structures a lot of His teaching around the topic.

"The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them,  but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps." (Matthew 13: 3 - 4).
Why on earth did the foolish virgins not bring extra oil? One probable reason could be: They looked at both the invitation card and program, they both read: "Bridegroom enters the reception hall - 9.00 pm."

The foolish virgins gave no room for delays. What are the lessons from the Parable of the Ten Virgins?
#1 All through the Gospel, Jesus warns that there will be delays in His coming.
#2 Like a well-trained Boys Scout, be prepared at all times. "If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into." (Matthew 24: 43).

Are you prepared for the sudden coming of Jesus? Are you vigilant at all times and praying? Are you strengthening your faith, hope and love through daily consumption of the word of God? What other available means of preparation and grace might you be missing?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

How St John the Baptist became a martyr.

“I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” (Mark 6: 25).

Thursday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist. St John the Baptist was called from the womb to prepare the way of the Lord Jesus. Our Scripture reflection today is drawn from the narrative of how John ended his life as a martyr: Mark 6: 17 - 29.

King Herod had John beheaded because of sexual immortality.  King David killed Uriah for the same sin. King Henry VIII executed many of his wives and gave two great martyrs to the Church of England: the Bishop St John Fisher and the great statesman, St Thomas More.

There are a number of lessons to be drawn from the Gospel of today:

#1 Beware of sexual sin. It is addictive. It does not end well.
#2 If you have a prophetic vocation, be resolved to go where God sends you and to proclaim fully everything God wants you to say. John the Baptist did this.
#3 Under no circumstances must you fear those who kill the body and can do no more. Fear God who can destroy your body and soul.

"I spoke, O Lord, of your decrees before kings, and was not confounded; I pondered your commands and loved them greatly." (Cf Psalm 119:
119: 46 - 47).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Feast of St Augustine, son of St Monica.

"You can remember how we treated every one of you as a father treats his children, teaching you what was right, encouraging you and appealing to you to live a life worthy of God, who is calling you to share the glory of his kingdom." (1 Thessalonians 2: 11 - 12).

Wednesday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Augustine (354 - 430). St Augustine, son of St Monica (feast day, yesterday August 27th) was Bishop, Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church. He is probably the most intelligent and most quoted writer in the history of the Church. His best known works are THE CONFESSIONS and THE CITY OF GOD both still popular classics.

Compare the Scripture from the first Reading today chosen to commemorate the life of St Augustine and that of Monica yesterday:

"You can remember how we treated every one of you as a father treats his children, teaching you what was right, encouraging you and appealing to you to live a life worthy of God, who is calling you to share the glory of his kingdom." (1 Thessalonians 2: 11 - 12).

For Monica:

"We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children.  With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us." (1 Thessalonians 2: 7 - 8).

Like mother, like son. Monica tutored Augustine into the Faith and inculcated in him a strong pastoral instinct.

"O God, You have made us for Yourself. Our hearts are restless till they rest in You." Most quoted phrase from St Augustine. Still true!
St Augustine, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, August 26, 2019

St Monica, the holy mother of St Augustine.

"We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children.  With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us." (1 Thessalonians 2: 7 - 8).

Tuesday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Monica, the mother of the great St Augustine. Here is what the Church says of St Monica (331 - 387). "Born in Tagaste in Africa, she was the mother of St Augustine. For many years she prayed and suffered for his conversion, never ceasing to believe in the power of grace to move. She is the patroness of married women and a model for Christian mothers." (Roman Missal).

The tears of Monica moved God to convert her son Augustine, Monica's pagan husband, Patricius and her grandson.

Monica lived out completely our Scripture verse for today: "We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children.  With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us."

We too can become great light in the Household of God if we can live and apply the above Scripture.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The unlearned Apostles proclaimed the Gospel with incredible boldness and confidence.

"The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the Lord, I know them and they follow me." (John 10: 27 Gospel Acclamation).

Monday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time. Our word of life today comes from the Gospel Acclamation of today's Liturgy.

How do you know that the voice you listen to at your church is the voice of the Good Shepherd, the Lord? There are many voices out there claiming to speak for the Lord. The message of the Gospel promulgated by 12 simple uneducated men (Apostles) who had never left Palestine conquered the mighty Roman Empire because it is true and utterly reliable.

The messenger delivered the message entrusted to him with absolute confidence and full assurance of the unshakeable certainty of the hope of eternal life: The bottom line of the Good News. People who heard them said to themselves: "These men are credible. Their teaching is clear with no ambiguities. These messengers are reliable and worthy of full confidence." These early converts to Christianity knew that YES to Jesus might mean an early death. The voice of the Good Shepherd is compelling.

This is how Paul summarized the above reflection:
"For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true." (1 Thessalonians 1: 5 NTL).

Does your pastor sound like the Good Shepherd?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Endure your trials as discipline from God.

"Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?" (Hebrews 12: 7).

Sunday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time. My paper castle was tumbling right and left when I heard our Scripture for today in a Sunday Mass at the beginning of my second journey of faith. It was sweet music to my ears. I was happy because I knew for sure that somebody was aware of where I was and what I was suffering.

Whatever trial you may be going through at the moment, our Scripture for today is certainly a word of knowledge and comfort. A sage said: "Correct thought is the key to correct action." This is the great gift God bestows on us in His word: "The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword." (Hebrews 4: 12).

David is happy because the Lord disciplines him. The Apostle James writes: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1: 2 - 4).
"Those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, August 23, 2019

When you are not keen to meet Jesus...

"Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” (John 1: 45).

Saturday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the Feast of the Apostle Bartholomew. Bartholomew who is the same as Nathaniel was introduced to Jesus by his friend Philip. Jesus said of him: "There is no duplicity in him." What an accurate description of a man who was not keen to meet Jesus because he believed "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Be that as it may, Jesus praised Bartholomew when the two men shook hands and Jesus accepted him as one of the 12 Apostles.

This interesting episode gives us food for thought: Is the Lord Jesus waiting for you to bring that friend to Him? Invite him to Mass? To enter the RCIA? Go to Confession? Regularize her marriage?

The response of those who are called and anointed should be:
"I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord.  I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters." (Psalm 17: 50 ; 21:23).

Daily Bible Verse @
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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wherever you go, I will go.

“Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1: 16).

Friday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Rose of Lima, Virgin. (1586 - 1617). Great beauty and talent but gave up all for the love of Jesus. The Lord rewarded her devotion by making her the first canonized saint in the Americas.

Our key Scripture for today are the brave words of Ruth to her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Unknown to Ruth, she had been chosen to be the great grandmother of King David and to become one of the three women in the Genealogy of Jesus Christ.

What can we learn from the character of Ruth? A spirit of sacrifice, hard work, loyalty and faithfulness. Although a stranger to the monotheistic religion of Israel, she no doubt fulfilled the ancient law enunciated by Jesus in our Gospel of today: "You shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself." (Cf Matthew 22: 34 - 40).

"Teach me your paths, my God,
guide me in your truth." (Psalm 25: 4, 5).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Feast of the Queenship of Mary.

"The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son." (Matthew 22: 2).

Thursday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Queenship of Mary. The kingship of David is the type and shadow of the kingship of Christ. Jesus was called the Son of David. During the reign of King Solomon, Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon was the Queen mother and played a prominent role in the court of King Solomon. This historical reality throws some light on the Queenship of Mary. Here is what the Church says on Mary Queen:

"The feast was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1954 and commemorates participation in the glorious and universal kingdom of Christ through her special role in His Redemption. Though not the source of grace, she is the channel through which all graces are received, our mediatrix." (Roman Missal). The elevation of Mary as Queen encourages us to approach her with confidence in all our needs.

"Blessed are you O Mary who have believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord will be fulfilled." (Cf Luke 1: 45).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

There is plenty of work in my Vineyard.

"Why do you stand here idle all day?’  They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard." (Matthew 20: 6 - 7).

Wednesday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Pius X, Pope (1835 - 1914). Pius X is known best for two reasons:
His vigorous defense of the Church against modern heresies and his extension of Holy Communion to young children and encouragement of frequent Communion.

The Church on earth is the seed of the Kingdom of God. In this Kingdom, there is no unemployment. There is work for everyone in the Vineyard. The Owner of the Vineyard is an equal opportunity Employer. He will be fair and generous. But do not be surprised and bitter if every worker is paid the same. Why were the late workers paid first?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55: 7 - 8).

Now the punchline:
"What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?" (Matthew 20: 14 - 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, August 19, 2019

Give me Jesus.

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19: 29).

Tuesday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 - 1153),Abbot and Doctor of the Church. Apostle Peter on behalf of the Apostles and ourselves asked Jesus: “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” (Matthew 19: 27).

St Bernard was a French Cistercian monk who is well known in the history of the the Church. Among peers, he was a towering giant. He was immensely learned, holy, cultivated, gentle, a great teacher and a highly effective preacher. St Bernard gave the world the MEMORARE Prayer. (Remember O Most Blessed Virgin Mary...).
Should you ask St Bernard: You have given up everything to follow Jesus, what is there for you? St Bernard would have answered like another great teacher and Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas: Give me Jesus and that will be enough.

Jesus is the Top Prize. He is the great Reward! Give me Jesus.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, August 18, 2019

He went away sad.

"Jesus said to him [the rich man] “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19: 21).

Monday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time. The rich young man turns down the opportunity to become a disciple of Jesus.

Some people are born poor.
Others become poor by their own mistakes.
Some people have poverty thrust upon them.

The vocation to follow Jesus implies embracing poverty of one degree or another.  Some people are committed to radical poverty like Franciscans. The Apostles and immediate disciples of Jesus were called to this type of poverty. Those who enter consecrated life take vow of poverty. They depend on the providence of God to provide all their necessities. God rewards them with deep peace and God Himself becomes their security in everything.

Jesus loves the rich man and invited him to join this intimate circle. "When the young man heard this statement, [about giving up his wealth] he went away sad, for he had many possessions." (Matthew 19: 22).

Do you own your money or does your money own you?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, August 17, 2019

My message will be contentious.

"In those days, the princes said to the king:
“Jeremiah ought to be put to death:
he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such things to them; he is not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin.” (Jeremiah 38: 4).

Sunday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time has a message of strife, contention and extreme courage in following Jesus.

The people got King Zedekiah to condemn Jeremiah to death for doing his work as a prophet. In the Gospel, Jesus proclaims how He came to set the earth on fire. "From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.” (Luke 12: 52 - 53).

The 2nd Reading from Hebrews 12: 1-4 confirms the message of Christ on the nature of the Enterprise He has given his life for. A great crowd of witnesses has already paid the price with their life: John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and all the Apostles, Stephen, Lawrence, Cecilia, Agatha, Thomas More, Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King Jr, etc. These are the heroes of our faith. All these witnesses belong to the Communion of the Saints, the holy ones who day and night are interceding for us before the Throne of grace and mercy and urging us to persevere in running the race that lies before us.

Brethren, this saying is trustworthy:
“Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Corinthians 2: 9).

The reward for faithfulness and perseverance will be extraordinary.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, August 16, 2019

Let the children come to Me.

“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19: 14).

Saturday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. Have you ever been annoyed by unrestrained and noisy children during Mass?  I discovered something curious and very beautiful about this annoyance recently. Little children love the house of God in a natural way. At first, I thought that little children might mistake the Sanctuary for a super market like Walmart. A little reflection convinced me that this is not the case. They know something, they see something that we distracted adults don't know and see. After the noon Mass at the Cathedral today, I saw a young child suddenly detach himself from the gripping hold of the mother and ran to the side altar. I caught his eyes and winked at him. I have learned to leave them alone.

"Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

HOW GOD OVERCOMES EVIL 😈

272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe". (Catechism of the Catholic Church 272).
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Thursday, August 15, 2019

It was not your sword or your bow.


"It was not your sword or your bow." (Joshua 24: 12).

Friday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. The first presidential address of Joshua to the people of Israel is the subject of the first Reading in today's Liturgy. It is sobering. Joshua went down memory lane to the very beginning of the nation: The choice and the call of Abraham. At the conclusion of his address, God speaking through Joshua to the people said:

"I gave you a land you did not till and cities you did not build, to dwell in; you ate of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant." (Joshua 24: 13).

The point of the talk is to warn the people against hubris. The Responsorial Psalm instructs us of the attitude of praise and thanksgiving we need before God:

"Give thanks to the God of gods.
Great is his love, love without end.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
Great is his love, love without end.
Through the desert his people he led.

"Great is his love, love without end.
Nations in their greatness he struck. Great is his love, love without end.
Kings in their splendour he slew.
Great is his love, love without end.
He let Israel inherit their land."
Great is his love, love without end. (Psalm 136: 1- 3, 16 - 18, 21 - 22).

It was not our sword or our bow that built the nation but God's gracious ordaining. Give thanks to the Lord.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mary was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

"Almighty, ever-living God,
who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son,
body and soul into heavenly glory,
grant, we pray, that, always attentive to the things that are above, we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

Thursday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. What is the Assumption?
"The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians." (CCC 966).

The Collect of the Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption expresses the constant and ancient faith of the Church.
"Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi." As the Church prays, so does she believe. So does she live. Teaches this ancient dictum. St Augustine, a theological genius expresses so succinctly: I believe because the Church taught me to believe. I believe based on the credible authority of the Church. Yes indeed. No Church, no confirmation of our faith.

Mary who bore Christ in her womb was raised body and soul in glory to be with Him in heaven. This is the ancient and constant faith of the Church.

"All generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me." (Luke 1: 48 - 49).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Who is St Maximilian Kolbe?

"Greater love has no one
than to lay down his life for his friends, says the Lord." (Cf John 15: 13).

Wednesday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Maximilian Kolbe (1894 - 1941), Franciscan Priest and Martyr. St Maximilian exhibited a greater love for his co-prisoner, picked by lot to be executed by the Nazis at Auschwitz. The condemned man broke down and wept bitterly. "My wife and children."  Maximilian who was a priest and unmarried asked the Gestapo to spare the man and take him. The Gestapo found the bargain to their liking since they hated priests more than Jews. They executed St Maximilian Kolbe.

"Greater love has no one
than to lay down his life for his friends, says the Lord." (Cf John 15: 13). The love and example of Jesus compels us to imitate Him. "Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me." (John 12: 26). St Maximilian Kolbe is enjoying his well deserved reward in heaven and is honored today throughout the world in the anniversary of his martyrdom.

St Maximilian Kolbe pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Lord Himself goes before you in this Journey.

"It is the Lord who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.”
(Deuteronomy 31: 8).

Tuesday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. Who goes before you in the Journey of life? Whom do you depend on as your provider and  leader?

When Moses was handing over the leadership baton to Joshua, he assured the people that God Himself remains the real Leader. Therefore they should not be afraid. God will never fail them.

God gives names to their leaders and ministering angels which contains His sacred name "EL" to remind them of His promise to be with them and provide for them.

El = God

Isra-El: God contends/fights.
Gabri-El: God’s strength” or “Power of God”.
Rapha-El: “God heals”.
Micha-El: Who is like God?
Emmanu-El: God with us.
Ishma-El: God hears.

If God is with you, the Journey is accomplished.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, August 11, 2019

3 dire predictions of the Passion of Christ which noone remembered.

"As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,  and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief." (Matthew 17: 22 - 23).

Monday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. The subtext of the word we have picked for today reads "The Second Prediction of the Passion."

How can we begin to understand the fact that Jesus predicted His Passion in such graphic terms three times and non of His disciples was prepared for it or even seemed to remember? It seems impossible to be true.

Be that as it may, how about ourselves? The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is taught and preached with vigor. We know that the Second Coming is the sub theme of Advent. Right?

Now what will be our defense if Jesus Christ comes tomorrow? Are we ready? How will our defense attorney plead for us?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Rejoice in hope.

"Stay awake and stand ready,
because you do not know the hour
when the Son of Man is coming." (Matthew 24: 42, 44).

Sunday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. Today's message could be personal. Are you waiting for something to happen? An answer to prayer for example. How do you know when God will deliver the answer? The Church answers the question thus:

"In prayer the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes...... In communion with their Master, the disciples' prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation." (CCC 2612).

When you keep watch in prayer, you will know the appointed time, the fullness of time. When you do not keep watch in prayer, you will fall into temptation and see your bus speed by while you are not paying attention. In the 1st Reading, we are told:

"The night of the Passover was known before hand to our forefathers." (Wisdom 18: 6). If you keep watch in prayer, God will be pleased to give you the privilege of knowing that the appointed time has come.

Live in hope. Rejoice in hope. God Never Fails!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, August 09, 2019

The Feast of St Lawrence the Deacon.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." (John 12: 24).

Saturday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time is the Feast of St Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. (+Circa 258). St Lawrence was a prominent Roman Deacon who braved roasting by red hot fire to defend the Church and her greatest wealth: the Poor. In this, Lawrence became like Jesus, the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies. As a result of the death of Jesus, life sprang up everywhere.

"Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it." (Luke 17: 33).

St Lawrence sowed bountifully and the Lord rewarded him and made him the Doyen of Deacons.
"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." (2 Corinthians 9: 6).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, August 08, 2019

When you remember the wonderful things God has done for you.

"I remember the deeds of the Lord." (Psalm 77: 12).

Friday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Teresa of the  Cross (1891 - 1942). Teresa was born Edith Stein of Jewish parents and converted to the Church. A well established philosopher in the universities in Germany, she was sent to Auschwitz by the Nazis and died in the gas chambers.

What one thing can make you grow in faith, hope and love? "I remember the deeds of the Lord." (Psalm 77: 12). Forgetfulness of what God has done for you is about the greatest harm you can inflict on yourself.
This truth and insight comes to us from the Responsorial Psalm in today's Liturgy:

"I remember the deeds of the Lord, I remember your wonders of old, I muse on all your works and ponder your mighty deeds." (Psalm 77: 12 - 16).

It is a well known axiom that what God has done once, He can always do again. The Israelites in the Desert forgot again and again that it the same God who split the Red Sea in two for them is the same God leading them on their Journey. The same God who fed them with manna feed 7000 people with bread and fish with much leftovers.

"Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts, Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills, Who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with mercy and compassion, Who fills your days with good things, so your youth is renewed like the eagles." (Psalm 103: 2 - 5).

Psalm 103: 2 - 5 is the greatest advice you can receive from God's holy word. It is not a coincidence that this Psalm is used most in Responsorial Psalms. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you remember and give thanks.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Get behind me, you Satan!

"He [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16: 23).

Thursday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Dominic (1170 - 1221), Priest and Founder of the Order of Preachers, the Dominican Order.

What do you make of the sharp rebuke of Jesus to Peter? Peter opposed the truth that Jesus must suffer and die. Christ's reaction implies that this truth is fundamental and of the highest priority in the hierarchy of truth. Nobody should mess up with this fundamental proposition. Not even Peter.

After His Resurrection, Jesus laid down 4 principles of apostolic witness:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

Deprecation of any of these truths by heresies must not be tolerated in the Church.

"May Saint Dominic come to the help of your Church by his merits and teaching, O Lord, and may he, who was an outstanding preacher of your truth, be a devoted intercessor on our behalf.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Collect on the Feast of St Dominic).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Faith welcomes unusual challenges to our welfare.

"We felt like mere grasshoppers." (Numbers 13: 33).

Wednesday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time. Have you ever felt like a grasshopper before a giant problem? Think of unanimous verdict of a team of medical expert that your case is simply hopeless. Or condemned to life sentence with no option of appeal by the highest court of the land. Or your only family home with all that you own is washed into the sea by the last hurricane and you have no insurance.

Faith welcomes any of the above scenario with a smile. A student who is prepared for an examination is impatient to see the test begin. One who is not prepared will pray for all the imaginable causes of delay.
In today's Scriptures, we see from the 1st Reading in Numbers 13, a story of No Faith. The men sent to survey the land flowing with milk and honey disparaged the territory. In the Gospel narrative in Matthew 15, we hear Jesus commend a foreign woman for a strong faith:

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” (Matthew 15: 28). And the result of strong faith: "And her daughter was healed from that hour."

David must have looked like grasshopper before Goliath. But who won the day? We do not and we can never vanquish the world with arms of flesh. Our faith will overcome this world anytime. We do not walk by sight or feeling but always by faith.

The God of Jesus Christ who is always with us never fails!

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Monday, August 05, 2019

What is the Transfiguration?

"In a resplendent cloud the Holy Spirit appeared.
The Father’s voice was heard: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him." (Cf Matthew 17: 5).

Tuesday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus. What is the Transfiguration and why does it matter?

"On a high mountain, before three witnesses chosen by himself: Peter, John and James. Jesus' face and clothes become dazzling with light, and Moses and Elijah appear, speaking "of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem". A cloud covers him and a voice from heaven says: "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" (CCC 554).

The Transfiguration matters because before the presence of three credible witnesses, the glory of Jesus was revealed. These three witnesses Peter, James and John were to become witnesses to the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. They were to bear witness to these eye witness events with their lives m. Our faith as Christians is built on solid foundation and not on "cleverly deviced myths." (2 Peter 1: 16 - 19).

"This is my Son, the Beloved: he enjoys my favor. Listen to him." (Matthew 17: 5).

Thank You Father. I listened to Your Son and heard beautiful words. (Matthew 6: 33).

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Sunday, August 04, 2019

You have given us O Lord Bread from Heaven.

"Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds." (Matthew 14: 19).

Monday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time. Our Scripture pick for today reminds us immediately of Eucharistic narrative where at the Last Supper:
Jesus Takes, Blesses, Breaks, Gives the Bread of life.

Is this sequence of action accident or purposeful? The Church has interpreted the Feeding of the Crowd as type and shadow of the Eucharist which is the defining institution of the Kingdom to come. Note that it must have been this same sequence of actions that opened the eyes of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus to recognize Jesus. (See Luke 24).

But what do we learn about the Eucharist from the feeding of the crowd? "They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over—twelve wicker baskets full." (Matthew 14: 20).
You shall eat and be satisfied.

Nothing prefigures the Eucharist as closely as this Scripture from Isaiah:
"All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat; Come, buy grain without money, wine and milk without cost! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?" (Isaiah 55: 1 - 2).

The Eucharist is the rich food and rich wine prefigured in Isaiah 55.

"You have given us, O Lord, bread from heaven, endowed with all delights and sweetness in every taste." (Wisdom 16: 20).

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Saturday, August 03, 2019

I will tear down my barns and build larger ones.

“Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!” (Luke 12: 19).

Sunday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time. The Scriptures invite us in the words of the 2nd Reading from Colossians 3 to seek what is above where Christ is. In the 1st Reading from Ecclesiastes, we hear that all things are vanity. God indeed has created man for Himself and made his heart restless until it rests in God Himself.

"How happy are the poor in spirit:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 3).

In today's Gospel, Jesus instructs us with the parable of the Rich Fool. When the Fool discovers that his business has succeeded beyond his wildest expectations, his instinct is not to donate to the local charities. "I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods." Many Church Fathers commenting on this parable see the consequences of unbridled materialism.

The Scriptures teach that "Man does not live on bread alone" and points to the impossibity of a man trying to drag a camel through the tiny gate of the city. Fool! This very night your soul will be demanded of you.

The Eucharist kills the temptation to greed and materialism.
"I am the bread of life, says the Lord; whoever comes to me will not hunger and whoever believes in me will not thirst." (John 6: 35).

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Friday, August 02, 2019

Herod beheaded John.

[Herod] had John beheaded in the prison." (Matthew 14: 10).

Saturday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time. John the Baptist becomes the first casualty of the ministry of Jesus Christ.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 28). The disciples of Jesus might have thought of this as a hyperbole. Now it has happened. What may follow?

"The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” Jesus said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” (Luke 9: 22).

By the time this happened, the faith and the resolve of the disciples had been shaken to its foundation. The "Promise of the Father" would come to the rescue in the person of the Holy Spirit to instill life into the disciples. By the time Herod laid hands on James, Bishop of Jerusalem and one of the first disciples, the new Church was ready for mission.

"Happy those who are persecuted
in the cause of right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 10).
Lord, grant us the grace to accept all the persecutions You send to us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

8-3

[Herod] had John beheaded in the prison." (Matthew 14: 10).

Saturday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time. John the Baptist becomes the first casualty of the ministry of Jesus Christ.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 28). The disciples of Jesus might have thought of this as a hyperbole. Now it has happened. What may follow?

"The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” Jesus said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” (Luke 9: 22).

By the time this happened, the faith and the resolve of the disciples had been shaken to its foundation. The "Promise of the Father" would come to the rescue in the person of the Holy Spirit to instill life into the disciples. By the time Herod laid hands on James, Bishop of Jerusalem and one of the first disciples, the new Church was ready for mission.

"Happy those who are persecuted
in the cause of right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 10).
Lord, grant us the grace to accept all the persecutions You send to us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Where did the carpenter's son get this education?

"Is he not the carpenter’s son?" (Matthew 13: 55).

Friday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time is First Friday in August. The famous home boy comes home for a weekend. Instead of a rousing welcome, He was subjected to indignities. “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?  Is he not the carpenter’s son?" If you are familiar with the Gospels, you will recognize that this is the fate of Jesus from birth to death. He was born humble and was despised by even the masses.

But we know better. We know that “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day." (Luke 24: 46). We understand the implication of the  necessity of the suffering and humiliation of Jesus the Messiah. We too must suffer and endure humiliations.
What is your reaction? Follow Jesus? Or run?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com